Child and Family Development (Birth-K), Graduate Certificate

Child and Family Development (Birth-K), Graduate Certificate
21 Credit Hours
Admits: Fall, Spring & Summer
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Program Tabs


Start a Fulfilling Career With a Child and Family Development Graduate Certificate

Do you have a passion for child development, helping families and education? Then our child and family development certificate may be the right program for you. We give students the knowledge and skills they need to support the development of young children and their families. You will learn about:

  • Child development
  • Family dynamics
  • Evidence-based practices for promoting early learning and success

You will also gain valuable hands-on experience through practica in early childhood settings.

Our graduate certificate in child and family development combines web-based and face-to-face instruction with clinical experiences to prepare you to demonstrate your readiness for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Educator’s License.

Who would benefit from the graduate certificate in child and family development?

Our graduate certificate is for working professionals who have earned a bachelor’s degree outside of education who wish to work in education and child development.

Hybrid and online coursework prepares you for success in the early childhood classroom. Our graduate certificate program can be completed in as few as four semesters, culminating in a 15-week student teaching experience. Current teachers may complete student teaching in their own classroom if it is in a public school, North Carolina Pre-K, Head Start, or MECK Pre-K setting.

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Connect with an Enrollment Specialist today to learn more! Complete the For More Information box on this page or contact us using the links below.

Related programs:

» Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Graduate Certificate
» Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health
» Special Education (K–12)


Application Deadlines: 

  • August 1 (fall)
  • December 1 (spring)
  • May 1 (summer first half term)

Admissions & Requirement:

  • Complete the Graduate School Admission Application.
  • A bachelor’s degree (in a related field) from a university accredited by a US Department of Education-recognized institutional accreditor.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 (If you do not have at least a 2.7 GPA, please see our GPA Forgiveness process).
  • Statement of purpose indicating reasons for seeking the graduate certificate.
  • Two online professional recommendations coming from individuals in a supervisory capacity (i.e. principal or manager) and/or academic reference (i.e. professor).
  • A clear criminal background check, which will be requested after application submission. The cost of this will start at $18 and could take 2-4 weeks to be processed. Please note your application cannot move forward until this step is complete.
  • The online Graduate Certificate Program requires classroom observation hours to be completed in the state of North Carolina.

Fall courses:

  • CHFD 5100: Development: Prenatal to Pre-Adolescence (3)
  • CHFD 6200: Curriculum and Learning Environments for Young Children (3)
  • CHFD 6205: Integrated Instructional Applications in Child and Family Development (3 or 6)

Spring courses:

  • CHFD 5250: Assessment of Young Children (3)
  • CHFD 6230: Emerging Literacy and Mathematical Understanding (3)
  • CHFD 6400*: Student Teaching Seminar: B-K Child and Family Development (6) (taken in the last semester)

Summer course:

  • CHFD 6110: Family-Professional Partnerships (3)

*This final course is a full-time internship. It requires application and approval during the semester prior to the internship.

The NC State Board of Education requires that B-K candidates demonstrate content mastery with 24 relevant credit hours. Contact the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure for assistance with determining relevant credit hours.

Internship/Student Teaching
  • The graduate-level student teaching/internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the initial Standard Professional I teaching license. A GPA of 3.0 or above in the graduate certificate coursework is required to be eligible for the student teaching/internship. Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time, semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and University faculty. Lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of School and Community Partnerships to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the student teaching/internship experience and licensure requirements. This contact should take place at least one semester before student teaching. The prerequisite for the student teaching/internship is completion of all program coursework, a GPA of 3.0 or above, an application for the course by the established deadline, and approval of the department.
Clinical Field Experiences
  • All courses require students to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in public school/agency settings. During the Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education program, all students are expected to complete clinical experiences in at least three significantly different settings.
  • Clinical field experiences provide opportunities for helping all students learn, including children with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. During clinical experiences, students apply theories and understandings gained in coursework, analyze B-K student learning, and develop the ability to positively impact all learners. The first semester requires a minimum of 20 hours of clinical experiences.  The second semester requires a minimum of 20 hours of clinical experiences. The third semester requires a minimum of 10 hours of clinical experiences These structured experiences can take place in multiple settings such as neighboring schools or districts, after-school programs, or in the schools and classrooms in which the candidates work or are placed by the Office of School and Community Partnerships.
  • Candidates who are lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must move beyond their own classrooms and schools for at least two clinical experiences. Alternative settings must be approved by the instructor. A limited number of clinical experiences may be approved in significantly different classrooms within their school of employment. Employed candidates are encouraged to seek assistance and support from their administrators.
  • To view the current program curriculum, please visit the website for the Teacher Education Advising and Licensure office.

*Rates are subject to change*


  • $288.82 per credit hour

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • Not Applicable


  • $1,098.21 per credit hour

Find more information regarding tuition and fees here ».

What Participants Will Learn

What can I expect to learn in the child and family development graduate certificate program?

You will complete a variety of clinical experiences in diverse settings to prepare you to teach in rural, urban or suburban schools. During these experiences, you will apply research and/or evidence-based practices gained in coursework, analyze birth through kindergarten student learning, and develop the ability to impact children in a positive way.

A six-semester-hour internship is required for graduate certificate students. This internship is the culminating experience of our program, offering you the opportunity to demonstrate your readiness for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Educator’s License. You will be assigned to a classroom for a full-time semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and university faculty.


What Can You Do With a Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Development?

Successful completion of our graduate certificate program qualifies you to be eligible to obtain a North Carolina Initial Professional Educator’s License in Birth-Kindergarten. This credential enables you to:

  • Teach infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners in public schools
  • Work in childcare programs
  • Work in developmental day centers

Job outlook and salaries: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for preschool teachers and kindergarten teachers is positive, with salaries ranging from $35,330 to $61,620 per year, depending on training and location.

Why UNC Charlotte?

Why Earn Your Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Development at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte?

Our graduate certificate program was created with excellence and convenience in mind. Benefits of our program include:

  • Flexible study: Online coursework offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats prepares you for success in the classroom and allows you to study around your busy schedule. Our program can be completed in as few as three semesters.
  • Academic excellence: The Cato College of Education has a strong reputation for academic excellence. Our faculty members are leaders in the field of child and family development.
  • Graduate employability: Our graduates are highly competitive when it comes to securing employment. The increasing adoption of universal Pre-K in recent years has child and family development professionals in very high demand. MECK Pre-K, Mecklenburg County’s program, will hire hundreds of educators in the coming years.